Australian jewellery retailers are missing out on thousands of dollars in sales to ethnic groups, according to a leading multicultural marketing and advertising expert.
Sheba Nandkeolyar, the CEO and strategy director of Multiconnexions, a Sydney-based multicultural marketing and advertising agency, told Jewellery World that local jewellery retailers have a long way to go in terms of catering to ethnic groups within Australia.
According to the 2011 Census, 46 percent of Australia’s population are born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas.
“While some jewellers are coming up with marketing promotions based around the tastes of a few ethnic groups like the Chinese there is no mistaking that a huge opportunity is still untapped,” said Nandkeolyar, adding that many ethnic customers are likely to spend more on jewellery than their Anglo-Australian counterparts.
“Ethnic groups generally tend to have higher limits to family savings which is exclusively set aside for the purchase of jewellery,” she said.
“While for Anglo-Australians jewellery continues to remain a fad, and may or may not be augmented by precious metal and stones, for many ethnic customers jewellery needs to appreciate on resale even if that means a compromise on design and vogue.”
She stressed however that individual ethnic groups had their own “cultural nuances” when it comes to jewellery purchasing.
For example around 33 per cent of the world’s mined gold is consumed in India as Indians see the metal as “a great wealth preserver”.
“In India, there is a day called ‘Dhanteras’ which holds special significance for the business community due to the customary purchases of precious metals on this day,” said Nandkeolyar.
“Jewellers in India normally expect a 40 per cent rise in sales during this time. With over 500,000 South Asians in Australia and almost over a third of them in Sydney alone, having stocks specifically to cater to this market around this day would certainly make a difference.
“Middle Eastern audiences have a similar affinity for jewellery as South Asians, especially gold, with almost three quarter of a million people tracing their origins to the Middle East in Australia.”
Nandkeolyar said there are many simple strategies that jewellers could adopt to increase sales to various ethnic groups, including:
• Target specific ethnic groups with customised jewellery: Chinese New Year, Diwali (Indian), Eid (Muslim) are specific times of the year that ethnic groups will invest in jewellery.
• Introduce a more diversified portfolio of designs and accessories that appeal to the more individual taste of ethnic groups.
• Enter into collaborations with renowned jewellery houses from other countries such as China, India, Korea, Italy and Greece. Ethnic buyers are more comfortable buying jewellery when names of popular jewellers in their countries of origin are associated with Australian brands.
• Target tourist customers in Australia: Tax on bullion import in many countries in recent times has resulted in jewellery becoming very expensive. Tourists can save on tax when they purchase permissible quantities of jewellery in Australia.